Teaching through an interpreter

The Skype linkup with a class in Germany, tonight has reinforced my belief, that working through an interpreter to teach other international classes is a skill that we need as we become more globally connected.

A message came up on our HLW Skype group from Reinhard Marx, a teacher, asking whether anyone was available to connect with his class in Germany in 2.5 hours time. As I was home and would be online, I agreed to connect. It was to be a mystery Skype with students asking questions to determine which country I was from.

It was a year 7 class and they were quite shy, but I would be too, if I didn’t feel confident with English. After some encouragement, one student came to the webcam and asked me a question. Then other students followed. They each introduced themselves.

The questions included:-

  1. Are you from England?
  2. Are you from Europe?
  3. Are you from Russia? and finally
  4. Are you from Australia? When the girl got my country correct, I immediately showed our flag to the camera for them.

I had quickly put together some photos of our farm to show them, so once they had worked out my country, I showed the pictures which were on a Powerpoint presentation. I had added English text so if they could not understand me, they may be able to read what I was saying.

There were photos of our animals – sheep, lambs, calves,; our flower stall at the front gate and some of the wild animals that we see on the farm, including an echidna and a koala. I was surprised that they did not seem to know what a koala was.

The students were then given the opportunity to ask me questions. There were questions about the time, the temperature (which was 30 degrees today), how hot it gets in summer (43.5 degrees reinhard and his class.jpgwas the highest this last summer) the season, where I actually lived in Australia (unfortunately, I had forgotten to put a map in the presentation to show them), the stars on our flag and a wonderful question about the colour of our sea.

As their English was not strong, I had to often pause for Reinhard to interpret both sections of my presentation and the questions that the students had for me. There is something surreal about doing this and a skill that needs to be acquired as we connect more and more on a global scale.

 

Advertisements

Skype an Author for World Read Aloud Day

selfie with year 7 and Mariana and daughter.jpg

World Read Aloud Day occurred on February 1st this year. As school had only just started back it was too difficult to organise something for my students on this day.

Upon checking the Skype in the Classroom website a number of authors were willing to Skype into classrooms beyond the World Read Aloud Day. One author who took my interest was Mariana Llanos.  She was born in Lima Peru but now lives in the USA and writes books for children to promote cultural awareness. My students tend to be geographically and culturally isolated as they come from farms or small rural towns of 3000 population or less.

IMG_4335

Mariana used a number of techniques to engage students including:

  1. Questioning for interaction
  2. Sharing her screen to enable us to read her book and enjoy the illustrations as she read it to us. Then, later on, to share photos on her computer of Christmas in Peru and the USA
  3. Using her home to Skype us so that sometimes she spoke Spanish to her daughter to give her instructions.

She started our session by sharing a little about herself eg she was born and grew up in Lima, Peru, then moved to Oklahoma where she has now lived in the USA for 17 years. She speaks Spanish and English. Mariana n shared her screen with us, sharing the pages of the book (Not) Home for Christmas and read this book to us. The illustrations were engaging and students seemed to understand her accent.

IMG_4347

The video image was clear so students could actually read the text whilst Mariana read it to them. The story was about a family from the USA who returned to Peru to celebrate Christmas with their relatives in Sth America. There were marked cultural differences between the ways that the two countries celebrate this festival. eg Santa Claus is called Papa Noel in Peru.

Christmas tree in peru.jpg

Mariana then told us how the people in Oklahoma celebrate Christmas and then was interested in how we, in Australia experience this time of year (December 25th).

IMG_4350

As the year 7 class has a boy who was born in the Philipines and a number of students who lived in New Zealand, we were able to gain some knowledge of the differences and similarities in these countries.

What I liked:-

  1. Mariana was an accomplished presenter.
  2. She shared her love of different cultures with us and gave my isolated students an insight into the US and Peruvian culture.
  3. We caught a glimpse of her home and her daughter.
  4. The session was structured well – introducing herself reading the book, discussing the content of the text, discovering how we celebrate Christmas, question time etc
  5. She shared her book via the screen so we could see the illustrations and text (especially if we had difficulty with her accent.)
  6. Mariana showed photos of Peru and Oklahoma at Christmas time.
  7. Mariana used a wonderful cartoon image that encouraged the students to read (either books or digital versions) as that gives the brain real power.

Preparing Blogs to be Global

mac wordart of students in class

Mac’s word cloud for students of Year 8

This year, I am teaching a one semester elective to year 9/10 students called Global ICT. Students will maintain their blogs to share a little of our country, where we live, where we go to school and our culture. To start the school year, they will create word clouds of

  • first names of students in their class (gives an indication of names for our culture, as names vary across countries) See Felicity
  • subjects studied See Mikaylah
  • teachers names See Jack’s post and Harby’s post  Both boys used Wordart
  • towns (all small and rural) that our students come from

Why use word clouds?

  • engaging for an audience – colourful, summarizes, formatting styles
  • it is a visual summary of a topic or theme
  • good for those with lower literacy skills
  • easy to use, great for those who speak English as a second language in my class

Extension

  • 195 Countries of the World in a Word Cloud See Bayleys work in wordart. He copied and pasted the names of the countries, edited the formatting and placed the country names in a globe.

Wordle was a past favourite to create word clouds, but it does not work on Google Chrome and now does not work well with Internet Explorer. Below are some of the alternatives for students to experiment with.

  1. Worditout  See a video tutorial
  2. Abcya Word Cloud Generator See a video tutorial
  3. Tagcrowd
  4. Wordart

Students were engaged and enjoyed using these tools.

See Web Tools for Kids for other interesting tools for avatars, word clouds etc

International Tolerance Day – a global celebration

introductionReinhard Marx is an online colleague from Germany who is always at the cutting edge of using technology for global collaboration. We met through the Hello Little World Skypers Group. Last year, he looked for teachers/classes to be involved in judging a Flash Mob Dancing Spectacular, as part of International Tolerance Day. I readily agreed as it was held during my evening and any projects Reinhard helps organise are always great. A similar event took place this year on November 16th. There is something rather amazing to be down near the southern tip of the world, yet be so intimately part of a school spectacular in the northern hemisphere – a school that is in the middle of Asia – and in a country that I know little about – Kazakhstan which is in the heart of Central Asia.

dance1

The 13 global judges came from Germany, Sweden, Bangladesh, Hungary, USA, England, Greece, Taiwan, Kazakhstan, Australia. Chills went down my spine, when the two student comperes acknowledged the judges, their countries and my name was read out over the youtube live streaming. These comperes were young, yet so professional. Judges were introduced using three different languages. 17 different dance groups performed often to a medley of music that included traditional, folk, hip hop, Asian, modern Western style. It was comforting to realise that these students loved similar music to what my students enjoy.  The dance routines were fabulous, kept an absolute secret from anyone involved and choreographed by the students themselves.

macarena.PNG

The online tools used

  1. Skype: a skype group  – the “Shymkent Flash Mob Jury 2018″ – was formed for those educators who were interested in being part of the global judging – either solo or with a class. This gave us a valuable backchannel both before, during and after the actual event. Some teachers were new to the process and were able to work out what they should do and where they should be on the actual online google judging sheet. Begaim, the chief organiser of the event, was able to keep us up to date with which group was performing and translate for us when necessary.
  2. Youtube – for live streaming of the event with the live audience chatting in the backchannel of youtube – mostly in a language I could not understand.
  3. Google sheets – for judging each flash mob. Teachers were given an individual sheet with in the group sheet. Each flash mob had a number and a name. Voting took place for each dance group. The following categories were voted individually on a score out of 10 – dance energy, team spirit, musicality (all movements in the dance must correspond to the specific features of the music), dance synchrony, creativity and appearance.

my worksheet

What the  event looked like::-

  1. Testing of the youtube stream took place one hour prior to the event
  2. Skype group was used as a backchannel
  3. The two student comperes did a great job introducing the school and contestants, and introducing the global, virtual judges.
  4. Their national anthem was played
    national anthem
  5. The 17 different groups performed their flash mob dances (the whole process took approx 2.5 hours)
  6. As each group finished, the judges scores went up on the google sheet and were collated in real time.
  7. The winners were announced at the end
  8.  One large skype group call enabled all the judges and classes across the world to see each other and speak – an amazing finale (although my bandwidth was not stong)
skype call

The global judges meet at the end over a group Skype call

Kudos and hearty congratulations to the teachers and students of Kazakhstan for such an amazing event. Thanks to Reinhard and Begaim for pulling in some of the global network to be judges and part of it all. A great way to celebrate International Tolerance Day.

me on laptop

It was night time for me!

chat on youtube

Excerpt from the youtube chat on live streaming.

Micro:bits

After experimenting with a number of robotics type devices, I have found that the Micro:bit is a great way to introduce coding and bring that coding to life.

The advantages:

  1. They are cheap – less than $30AUD for the micro:bit and lead
  2. Immediate and quick results for students of all ability levels
  3. Simple to connect to computer
  4. Great online resources and tutorials – simple, effective, user friendly
  5. Students were highly engaged and there were few problems in getting an outcome
  6. Reasonable robust for its size.
  7. Can be used on Windows devices and Apple technology
  8. there are a number of programming languages that can be used

Limitations

  1. Size – some students had difficulty in connecting the lead to the micro:bit
  2. Code needs to be downloaded, then dragged across and dropped into the micro:bit usb drive on a PC. Students soon got used to using the download folder though.
  3. Only uses .hex files
  4. Each time you write a new program, the old one is replace, you cannot store previous code

Where to start

  • Showed the following videos

    https://youtu.be/Wuza5WXiMkc
  • Explained how to connect the lead to the micro:bit and computer
  • Demonstrated the Flashing Heart tutorial from the Micro:bit Make Code website explaining they needed to sketch 2 different hearts (to give the impression of flashing)
  • Showed how to download the hex file>open in folder>drag and drop into the Micro:bit usb drive
  • Students then created their own flashing heart and downloaded the code to their micro:bit
  • They then worked through the other tutorials

 

 

Online resources and apps to engage students in accounting

comview banner

The title above is the topic that I will be presenting on at Comview 2018 This post is for the participants (and other interested parties) to access the links for the sessions.

Online document of resources.

Link for answergarden

@murcha on twitter

Link to presentation

 

 

AnswerGarden: Name some business expenses

Source: AnswerGarden: Name some business expenses

This post is to allow VCTA Comview participants the chance to answer and see the garden grow.